|Seagate FreeAgent Go 640GB External Hard Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Hank Tolman - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 10 December 2009|
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Closer Look: Seagate FreeAgent GO
To begin, something really has to be said about Seagate. The day after talking to them about reviewing the FreeAgent GO, it arrived. Now that is definitely a company I can handle doing business with. The FreeAgent GO 640 GB USB External Drive arrived packed snugly in its container. The packaging certainly looked cool. The FreeAgent GO drive is suspended in clear plastic packaging so you can see the drive clearly. I received the Tuxedo Black model, but the FreeAgent GO actually comes in up to 10 different colors; Titanium Silver, Tuxedo Black, Ruby Red, Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Solar Orange, Think Pink, Champagne Gold, Spring Green, Forest Green. The 250Gb and 320Gb drives have all the color options, the 500Gb has six options, the 640 GB comes in white, black, or red, and bigger than that comes only in black.
With all that color, I am quite sure that the FreeAgent GO stands out on store shelves. The packaging definitely shows it off. Along with the FreeAgent GO, I received the Seagate FreeAgent GO Dock+. The dock was similarly packaged, though not visible through the plastic casing. In all honesty, the package looks quite impressive. Unfortunately, trying to get the FreeAgent drive and dock OUT of the packaging caused quite a bit of heartache and frustration. After fruitlessly trying to remove the items without mechanical help, I enlisted a pair of heavy duty scissors. The package would not cut along the seams and was still terribly difficult to open, so I got about a pair of kitchen shears. With those mighty tools, I was finally able to best the plastic beast that was holding my prize. Something really needs to be done to improve this. Although if burning calories while extracting your product is something you enjoy, the Seagate FreeAgent GO caters to you.
After a short rest to catch my breath, I took a good look at the FreeAgent GO drive and dock. The drive is only slightly larger than the palm of my hand and it is extremely light. The slim design of the FreeAgent GO is very appealing. The top and bottom of the casing are metal and the sides are plastic. The rectangular shape curves at the front where the Seagate logo is located. The other end of the FreeAgent GO has a starburst pattern of perforation near where the USB connector is located. When plugged in, some of these perforations are lit by LEDs that pulsate gently when the drive is in use. The lights can be turned off using the Seagate Manager software. Though the packaging is quite a bit larger than the FreeAgent GO drive itself, it contains relatively little. It contains the drive, a quick start guide, a warranty manual, and a 6" USB cord. The cord is very short, so plan on using a USB hub if you don't have the dock.
The FreeAgent GO Dock+ is a standing dock for the FreeAgent GO drives that doubles as a USB 2.0 hub. The FreeAgent GO Dock+ is powered by an AC Adapter and plugs into the computer through a much longer USB Cable than the one that comes with the FreeAgent GO drive. The packaging that the dock came in was just as difficult to deal with as the packing of the drive, but it was easily overcome. The AC Adapter plugs into the FreeAgent GO Dock+ on right side and the USB plugs into the back. The three USB 2.0 ports are also in the back. Seagate offers a couple of different solutions for the dock. The FreeAgent GO Dock is a simply that, just a dock, the Dock+ has the three USB 2.0 ports, and the FreeAgent DockStar is a USB 2.0 hub for 3 devices as well as acting as a wireless device by connecting to your wireless network. This allows you to access files from your FreeAgent GO drive from any computer in your house.
There were quite a few more contents in the FreeAgent GO Dock+ box. The package included the Dock+, the AC Adapter, a 3 foot long USB Cable, the User Manual, and a handy carrying case. The carrying case appears to made of leather with an elastic cloth band around the backside that forms a pocket of sorts. The carrying case is an extremely handy accessory for the FreeAgent GO drive, allowing it to be protected from dings and scratches during travel. It certainly affords the user the ability to consider the FreeAgent GO as an actual portable drive. Many other drives are touted as portable, but Seagate really tries to make it easy for you. In fact, the drive is intended to be "hot-swappable", meaning that there should be no issues with removing the device without first safely removing it in Windows.
The size and portability of the Seagate FreeAgent GO really make it stand out from other external drives. I have a 400Gb Western Digital My Book drive and I borrowed a Western Digital My Passport Essential drive to test against the FreeAgent GO. The My Book is definitely not a portable drive, and the My Passport is of comparable size to the FreeAgent GO, but doesn't come with the handy carrying case or dock options. Also, the software provided by Seagate for the FreeAgent GO drives really pushes it over the top. We will discuss the software in more detail a litte further on.